Starbucks journey to sustainable dairy

Cows in a field

At Starbucks, we’ve always been committed to working alongside communities to help people thrive and protect the planet. Our vision for the future is to become resource positive. From storing more carbon than we emit, to reducing and conserving more freshwater than we use and eliminating waste, we set targets to cut our climate, water and waste footprints in half by 2030. 

Our work to fulfill our promise to give more than we take from the planet includes driving key investments to help farmers adapt to climate change impacts and conserving or replenishing water. Our global footprint requires a global approach that leverages the expertise and experiences of our partners, farmers, customers, communities and stakeholders. It’s why we continue our decades-long work with industry experts, leveraging their insights to create and propel scalable solutions across our global operations, like in our efforts to support the long-term health of the dairy industry. 

Since Starbucks introduced its first handcrafted beverage, the Caffè Latte in 1984, cow’s milk has been an integral ingredient for the company. And while Starbucks will continue to expand plant-based menu options, dairy is part of more than half of Starbucks core beverage offerings. At the same time, dairy is the biggest contributor to Starbucks carbon footprint and the second highest contributor to water withdrawal. As a company that works with and relies on the farming community every day, we have a responsibility to help drive solutions around the world to reach our resource positive goals, support farmers and help ensure a sustainable future of dairy.  

Read on for an at-a-glance look at milestones in Starbucks journey to sustainable dairy: 

Brown cow in pasture, with other cows in background

2024

Starbucks Canada announces collaboration with Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) with a $500,000 investment to help accelerate environmental stewardship and ensure a sustainable future of dairy. In this foundational year together, the partnership will focus on providing farmers with best management practices on sustainability to help reduce the emissions associated with dairy production. Additionally, Starbucks investment with DFC will add two new categories to Farm Credit Canada’s Dairy Sustainability Incentive program, Top Achieving and Most Improved, further rewarding the sustainability successes of Canadian dairy farmers.

2023

Built a Sustainable Dairy fund with dairy cooperative partners offering farms financial incentives for continuous improvement in the areas of environment, workforce and animal care, as well as annual cost-share funding to support implementation of practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions like methane.

2022

Piloted key aspects of a new Sustainable Dairy Program in the United States, China and U.K. company-operated markets to help refine and scale an approach to sustainable dairy and environmental stewardship for the betterment of people, planet and animals. These markets focused primarily on baselining GHG emissions on several dairy farms within their supply chains and piloted key aspects of a new on-farm holistic standard. Insights from these pilots will be applied in FY23 and FY24 as the program rolls out to several global markets.

2021

Launches our first on-farm pilot through U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative with Alliance Dairy, a farm that is woman-owned and operated, and has a strong record of sustainability, including water reuse and converting methane into biogas. Alliance Dairy was an early adopter and has been producing renewable energy from manure since 2012. As part of this pilot, a full suite of technologies, like evaporative nutrient recovery, will be explored with the goal of helping Alliance Dairy to become a source of renewable and organic fertilizer and water reuse, while significantly reducing GHG emissions.

Woman standing in field with several cows behind her

Begins work with Agolin in the U.S. to source milk from cows fed Agolin Ruminant, a plant-based feed additive certified by the Carbon Trust to improve feed efficiency and reduce enteric methane, ultimately reducing dairy’s carbon footprint while also helping dairy farmers increase financial returns.

Starbucks UK launches a pilot with Arla cooperative farmers around the UK. The program seeks to identify innovative new farming practices to help reduce the emissions associated with dairy production that can be scaled across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Announces a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to help refine and scale Starbucks collaborative approach to sustainable dairy and environmental stewardship. This foundational effort includes working with farms and co-ops in Starbucks supply chain to perform baseline assessments against social and environmental practices that we believe can help propel the industry towards a more sustainable future – helping to reduce emissions and protect water resources.

2020

Joins the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative (NZI), a partnership of the U.S. dairy community seeking to enable progress toward the industry’s goals of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality and improvements in water quality on farms. Through a $10m investment, Starbucks is providing more farmers access to effective environmental and economically viable practices and technologies – from feed production to manure handling, cow care and on-farm energy efficiency.

“We share Starbucks commitment to creating a more sustainable planet for future generations and look forward to partnering with them to reach net zero carbon emissions for dairy. This partnership reinforces the critical role dairy plays in sustainable diets, and Starbucks participation in the Net Zero Initiative will help enable, advance and scale new technologies on dairy farms of all sizes across the country.”

MIKE HADDAD, CHAIRMAN, INNOVATION CENTER FOR U.S. DAIRY

Joins the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance as a founding member, repurposing food waste in Starbucks supply chain into renewable energy via farm-based anaerobic digesters. The process produces low carbon fertilizer that host farms use to support regenerative agriculture practices, while Starbucks, in turn, helps contribute to a low carbon economy.

2019

Invests $100m in Valor Siren Ventures, a growth driver for the next generation of food and retail start-up technology companies like Blue Ocean Barns – which is focused on curbing methane emissions through all-natural feed additives.

thumbnail for Oleato™ now available at all Starbucks stores in Canada 

Oleato™ now available at all Starbucks stores in Canada